Wednesday is always my difficult day. It’s this wasteland between Ella’s days at preschool and the weekend is still too far off to see. I’ve tried to develop this wasteland; you know, be craftier and more fun and come up with activities. I do this for Ella’s sake but being her mother doesn’t stop me from being who I am: a tired introvert with no artistic ability and whose favorite place is the left side of any bed.
So even despite my best, though sad, efforts, Wednesdays are usually a whole lot of nothing. No preschool to soak up 3 hours, no fun Dad to play and cook with, and not even a smidgen of patience to split between us. In fact, the only thing that we seem to have in abundance on Wednesdays are tantrums. So far today, Ella has slammed her door on me, thrown goggles at Jack, and collapsed on the floor when we couldn’t find her precious pink tutu.
Motherhood is one of those jobs where you can have an entire bad day before noon.
In the face of all these tantrums, I have to be the adult. Ella and I aren’t peers, after all, which is much harder to remember than you think it would be. I have to remind myself to keep my voice calm, keep my head clear, keep myself in control when she isn’t.
But being her mother doesn’t stop me from being who I am: human.
I put her behavior on blast so it’s only fair you know mine, too. So far today, Elizabeth has yelled at Ella, refused to give up a toy to prove a point about sharing, and hid from her daughter in her son’s room.
The things I’ve done today. Oh man. The things I’ve said. I have to wonder, is motherhood supposed to be just threats and bribes?
I try to disguise them but that’s what they are. “Oh, I hope nobody throws something at Jack because then we couldn’t have TV time.” “Oh, I wanted to go to Chick-Fil A but we can only go if we’re all good listeners.” It’s just like those mafia guys in movies who say everything with a wink so you know what they’re up to but you couldn’t prove it in court. That is my Wednesday parenting style.
Yesterday I was talking with a friend about tantrums and how we both take them so personally. I think maybe that’s why they bring out the worst in me; I feel as though Ella’s behavior reflects on me. If she’s yelling, it’s because she’s heard me yell. If she can’t share, it’s because I haven’t taught her well enough. If she’s being bad, it must be because I am bad and until she’s good, I can’t feel good about myself. So I will get to a point, if only to free myself, where I will say whatever it takes to get her out of a tantrum. Threats. And bribes.
I asked earlier if motherhood is supposed to be this way but the answer is obvious. Of course it’s not. But motherhood is supposed to be a lot of things that don’t always match up with what it actually turns out to be and maybe on Wednesdays, motherhood is just threats and bribes. And maybe that’s okay, you know why?
Because there’s always Thursday.